by Wijitha Nakkawita and Dilanthi Jayamanne
The Committee Stage of the Budget in Parliament commenced on
Tuesday with the Deputy Leader of the UNP Karu Jayasuriya proposing a token
cut of 10 rupees on the Votes of the President and Departments under the purview
of the President.
However after R. Sampanthan ITAK leader spoke on the debate
with the usual references to the resumption of peace talks based on the ISGA
proposals of the LTTE when Gajendra Kumar Ponnambalam (ITAK) said that the
Tamil people will set up a separate state in the North and East.
Ven. Athuraliye Ratana Thera: Can the ITAK leader and
others in his party ask for a separate state when they have taken an oath of
allegiance to the Constitution.
Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara: Members have freedom
of expressing their ideas in Parliament.
Wimal Weerawansa (JVP) They can not only ask for one
separate state or even 60 separate states but you as the Speaker should give a
ruling whether a Member of Parliament who had taken an oath to safeguard the
Constitution could make a statement like that in Parliament.
Speaker: You should refer to the standing orders and tell
me under what standing order are you objecting to Mr.Sampanthanís speech.
Minister of Urban Development, Dinesh Gunawardena: The
Speaker has a right to disallow a member from making a statement condemning the
constitution. Former Speakers had expunged such statements or disallowed members
from making such statements. You should give your ruling or even reserve your
ruling for a later time.
Speaker: I will take this matter up at the Party Leaders
meeting R. Sampanthan: If the government could not agree to some of the ISGA
proposals of the LTTE the government could give its own proposals to the LTTE at
the peace talks. But it was important that the President took the initiative to
resume peace talks based on the ISGA. Once the ISGA is established the government
could continue the peace talks and discuss the final solution to the national